One would think that the Cajuns averaging 35.5 points per game would lead to a better record than 4-2. However, that’s not necessarily the worst position to be in heading into the final half of the season.
Louisiana has faced Northwestern State, Old Dominion, UAB, Buffalo, Minnesota and Texas State. Their opponents’ records combined are 14-20. Their next six opponents have a record of 16-15 as of writing. The schedule only gets harder for the Ragin’ Cajuns, but if last week’s game against Texas State showed anything, it showed that the Cajuns don’t give up easily and will fight no matter what the score is.
Now a simple question arises: Is Zeon Chriss the starting quarterback moving forward? When Ben Wooldridge went down with an injury against UAB it was assumed that Chriss would be a stopgap until Wooldridge healed up. Now, Chriss seems to firmly have the starting job in his grasp. If Chriss were to get hurt — and I hope he never does — Wooldridge will return to the field.
What does this mean for third-string quarterback Chandler Fields? Will he stay at Louisiana and work to mentor Chriss or will Chandler Fields transfer for his last few seasons? That is a burning question that will need to be answered in the offseason.
For now these questions will remain on the backburner. The Cajuns are two wins away from a bowl game, which will potentially be their 11th bowl game in 13 years. The best chances to pick up their two wins against Southern Mississippi (1-4) and Georgia State (2-3). Any more than six would of course boost a season that would exceed expectations.
The defense has dominated from the opening game, relying on pressure from the defensive line and it shows no signs of slowing down. The special teams even blocked a punt, which was the first time in recent memory that the Cajuns have gotten to the punter. Kenneth Almendares is as automatic as ever at kicking field goals and extra points, and punter Thomas Leo has done a stellar job picking up where Rhys Burns left off.
So if everything has gone seemingly right, why are the Cajuns not undefeated? The answer is simple: happenstance. When the Cajuns trailed at Old Dominion, they lost because they could not adapt to Old Dominion’s chew-’em-up, spit-’em-out running game. At Minnesota the usage of the tush push, a strategy where you snap the ball and push your quarterback’s posterior over the line of scrimmage or end zone, killed the Cajuns.
But being undefeated is a rarity in the Group of Five. Being 4-2 in one of the strongest Group of Five conferences while defeating one of the best teams in said conferences is a good thing.
And yet a tough road lies ahead for the Cajuns to exceed expectations. The worst they can go and still make a bowl game is 2-4. However, the sky’s the limit. A trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia for the Sun Belt Championship Game at James Madison is well within the cards for Louisiana.
Only time will tell what becomes of the Cajuns when the final clock hits triple zeroes. But for now, they can relax and recuperate. They can also take solace in knowing that the road to six wins is suddenly wide open, and that serves as motivation on the road to victory.